Photo: HBO via YouTube
[Spoilers below]David Chase, the man who created and ran The Sopranos, spoke openly about the iconic show’s final scene with the AP’s Jake Coyle today.
In the scene, Tony Soprano is eating onion rings at a dinner with his family as various suspicious-looking people lurk around the restaurant, when the screen abruptly cuts to black.
Some people thought their cable went out. Once it was clear that the blackness was the intended ending, Chase and the show took a ton of heat, and people have spent years debating whether or not Tony was killed.
Now we have some answers from this AP interview that you really should read in its entirety. Chase was disinterested in the question of whether Tony lived or died (sorry guys), but he did do a ton of explaining.
He says it wasn’t meant to be meta.
“I think a lot of people thought they were being made a fool of, that I was being really meta — is that the word? — and postmodern or just showing my quote-unquote ‘contempt’ for the audience or going “Ha, ha, ha. It’s just a TV show.” None of that was what was going on.”
He says the scene was about “the fragility of it all.”
“There was something else I was saying that was more important than whether Tony Soprano lived or died. About the fragility of all of it. The whole show had been about time in a way, and the time allotted on this Earth. … All I wanted to do was present the idea of how short life is and how precious it is. The only way I felt I could do that was to rip it away.”
He says that any ending that could have been interpreted as “crime doesn’t pay” wouldn’t have made sense for the series.
“Did Tony die or didn’t he die? Well, first of all, it really comes down to this: There was, what, six seasons of that show? Seven? Am I supposed to do a scene and ending where it shows that crime doesn’t pay? Well, we saw that crime pays.”
He admits that the execution of the ending wasn’t the best.
“And I think people did get it. It made them upset emotionally, but intellectually they didn’t follow it. And that could very well be bad execution.”
There’s not much here for zealots who strongly believe Tony died or Tony didn’t die. But interesting stuff anyway.
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